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Friday, December 15, 2017

Birthday special

As I reflect on another birthday for me, I reflect on the train rides. I like riding the trains especially on a vacation. To reflect on the number of places I've arrived on trains allow me to offer some destinations.

By Amtrak, I've been to Washington, Memphis, Detroit, Dallas, & Los Angeles. With the exception of Detroit all of those have been multiple trips and often to visit family in all of those places. Without a doubt Los Angeles have been the most interesting of these trips as I don't go out west often enough. And sometimes I wonder why with the issues they seem to have out there with immigration and wildfires.

All the same it's exciting to see the parts of America that I don't always see. It's cool to go out east and see those sites that I normally won't see. Which reminds me, I would like to go back to DC in the future. It's such a great place to see historical sites of great political importance. I'm not done with that town yet!

Also it's cool to head out west and see the landscape of this country go from midwestern farmlands, to grazing lands, to mountains, and deserts. To look at dry riverbeds, buttes, sands, bushes, etc. Doesn't matter where my train passes through it's a treat to see some of these small towns and stop in them to see how much simpler it can be outside of our major metropolitan areas.

As you probably can tell of all the years I've taken the train the highlights of them have been going out west to Los Angeles. I've only done so twice in the first two decades of this century and had been waiting to do so for years. And at that one time doing so with a sleeper car berth which is recommended by me if you do at least two overnights on a train.

This comes to mind because I've been watching a lot of train videos lately. Especially those that involve the Southwest Chief. Look forward to a few more train rides as long as I remain in good health and finding places to go in the meanwhile.

As an extra treat, here's one my favorite pics from my trip in 2016 taken in Mendota, IL from the train. Had a nice rainstorm as we were leaving the state on the way to the Mississippi River to cross into Iowa.
Mendota, Illinois
Also, this is the shortest and best video I could find about taking the Southwest Chief. It's under 10 mins although find any video you want about any train. These are only for if you want to educate yourself. [VIDEO]

Friday, December 08, 2017

Tarantino "Trek"

Quentin Tarantino wants to do a Star Trek movie and at that it will be rated R. And how often is it that you will see this blog link to TrekMovie.com?

Man this movie might actually get me excited although the idea of an rated R Trek is an odd one. I can only imagine the violence, language or nudity. Although I hate to bring up Tarantino's foot fetish, it has come up in a few of his movies.

To me Tarantino has a strong affinity for those old style 1970s motif (I hope I used that correctly). Pulp Fiction was full of that 1970s style with hatchbacks. Often he also seems to go for those old school "blaxploitation" style which we may see in Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown or even Django Unchained. Also think about the Kill Bill movies which I certainly loved especially the first one, he seems to be a fan of B-movie action movies and portrays them very violently.

And now Star Trek. Will he give Star Trek a retro feel? Would this new Trek be far more violent than most Trekkies are used too? Will the sex be turned up on high in a new movie?

BTW, I didn't know this Star Trek Beyond didn't make money last year. The 50th anniversary movie lost money and to be fair I liked it but was it a great memorable movie not as much as the 2009 Stark Trek. Which reminds me...

[VIDEO] John Campea was debating a Tarantino Trek. Perhaps Paramount who owns this franchise might want to shake things up and find a new direction. Think prior to 2009 it was considered unthinkable not only to recast the original characters with new actors as they had in the JJ Abrams Trek. It was also unthinkable to even tweak the design of the original USS Enterprise.

It would be quite interesting to see Tarantino's take on Gene Roddenberry's universe. Will it be faithful? Or will it simply be a Tarantino story set in Roddenberry's universe telling his own story? All we can do now is wait...

I also want to note the new Trek series Discovery. My initial take on it is that the show started off interesting with the pilot that aired on CBS. It ended with the Captain asserting her authority against her first officer who essentially wanted to contradict her C/O in handing the newly revamped Klingons. I have no idea about this f-bomb Campea said ocurred in the series and he also claims Trekkies took issue with the insertion of that.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

50 Shades: Feminism vs. logic

[VIDEO] I've been following this YouTube channel 50 shades for a while now. Basically the focus of these videos are the challenges to SJWs and Feminists. One trademark of these videos images of air horns and the digital sounds they make. Also when a member of those groups get shut down the sounds of windows as a result of an error or a shut down!

If you click link in brackets there are a series of links in the description that shows you the full videos that you see snippets in the video above. The most interesting one is Lauren Southern who confronts women in a march asking them one simple question "women's rights or Islam". No one in this march wanted to really answer this question. They got triggered by Southern's cameraman because he is a man although Southern had to explain that her cameraman had once been an ex-tranny....

It was also good to see Jesse Lee Peterson who we see in two segments and had a chance to see his 35 minute interview with a male feminist. I forgot how very straight forward and outspoken he is especially when wants to call out behavior he can describe as feminine or womanly. He calls out this male feminist accordingly and I'm surprised this doesn't trigger him so kudos to him for taking it!

Anyway back to 50 Shades, the sound effects they use when it comes to a triggering, a point or a shut down makes this videos hilarious. Unfortunately how people just dig in to their points and their beliefs - no matter how left field they are - is what makes these videos. I saw this one video where a woman is asked about fascism but makes an argument talking about businesses and it becomes clear she doesn't know what fascism really is. She gets the windows error treatment for her troubles.

I shared this video with a friend and he says these videos only causes him to lose points on his IQ. I think arguing with people and debating on their tightly held ideas is tiring and I'm sure can give you a headache. I probably wouldn't have the stomach for it.

Oh yeah I saw Peterson taking on SJWs on the streets once and he certainly does his fair share of attacking. I thought Peterson was above this type of activity, however, he shows that he probably occassionaly has the time for some of this foolishness.

BTW, allow me to mention Milo Yiannopoulos he features also in these videos at 50 shades and has the tendency to truly get under people's skin. I never heard of him until learning how some SJWs or perhaps more accurately "antifa" or "anti-fascists" who have started riots trying to prevent him from speaking on some college campuses. I'm not a fan of his because he takes no prisoner's and I know not to take him on at all!

BTW, the stakes might be high on this however I see this video as an entertainment video. It may lower your IQ or it may make you angry and give you a headache. Though if you try not to take this seriously, I hope it makes you laugh.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Prager U: Is fascism right or left?

[VIDEO] Dinesh D'Souza talks about who was the philospher behind fascism and why after only taking two classes in political philosophy I never heard of this man, Giovanni Gentile. What's being said here well the left wants to keep him buried and forgotten while they can continue to charge their opponents with fascism. As explored in this video, that tactic is really a misdirection.

Since Donald Trump became president in January 2017, I've gotten to know more about these group of violent activists known as "antifa". I've gotten to know about people know as an "SJW" or social justice warrior who are simply people who look for things to complain about.

It's easy to throw around a word that only serves to shut down people you oppose. It also has been used against people whom they vehemently disagree with. Why exactly is Donald Trump and people who support him politically a "fascist"? Has Trump done anything that could be considered fascist?

Since Trump has the tendency to go after the press he considers unfair and has some strong supporters so far, it is possible he can become a dictator? So far I haven't seen that sure many disagree over his immigration policies. Also many disagree over his use of the term America First which many consider a form of fascist though.

Bottom line is that it's very easy to label something especially without knowing what it means. What is a conservative, liberal, libertarian, leftist, socialist, communist, etc? Now that I know the name of Gentile, perhaps I can find some of his writings.

Besides I took two classes in political philosophy at Morehouse and I could study the Communist Manifest, I can study the philosophical underpinings of fascism. And it could be said that yes, we never covered this philosophy of fascism in school. I can't say that Gentile was scrubbed from academic thought, however, it can't be said whether or not in a third political philosophy course that his writings would be covered. And at the same time who's to say I couldn't have written a research paper about him if I heard his name and the theory he wrote about.

Monday, November 27, 2017

So Hillary Clinton is more dangerous than Pres. Trump?

Susan Sarandon - you may know her as Tim Robbins' girlfriend and from Thelma & Louise - probably hasn't turned her back on progressivism, but she came out and said she believes the 2016 Democrat nominee for President was herself dangerous. From The Guardian:
Did she really say that Hillary was more dangerous than Trump?

“Not exactly, but I don’t mind that quote,” she says. “I did think she was very, very dangerous. We would still be fracking, we would be at war [if she was president]. It wouldn’t be much smoother. Look what happened under Obama that we didn’t notice.”

It seems absurd to argue that healthcare, childcare, taxation for the non-rich wouldn’t be better now under President Clinton, and that’s before we get to the threat of deportation hanging over millions of immigrants. “She would’ve done it the way Obama did it,” says Sarandon, “which was sneakily. He deported more people than have been deported now. How he got the Nobel peace prize I don’t know. I think it was very important to have a black family in the White House and I think some of the stuff he did was good. He tried really hard about healthcare. But he didn’t go all the way because of big pharma.”
Most of the article illustrates that she had been attacked by moderates and leftists who support Hillary Clinton. She said she had to change her phone number because people were messaging her threats because she wouldn't support Clinton for president. It's a shame that this groupthink mob mentality took over and she's being ostracized for her opinion and who she chose to support last year. If she supports anyone but Clinton, then she's as bad a Trump or whatever they don't like. What a false association....

I want to remind you of a friend of mine - he called me from his job on election night last year. It was sometime after midnight and he was on the graveyard shift and seeing how the election was going he was livid and called me up. We had been on the phone for almost 3 hours talking about a variety of subjects, because I wanted to change subject from Trump getting elected.

He didn't want Trump to get elected and in his words believed if Clinton had been elected we'd be screwed less than under Trump. Then on the flip side here Sarandon doesn't have much faith in Clinton, hell I didn't vote for Clinton last year and had little faith in either her or Trump. They were both unpopular last year and most of the voters in America made a choice and one or the other resonated with their core constituencies.

My friend said Trump is a rapist and a racist - also there's going to be a race war and it's time to move to Canada. Rapist I might somewhat understand it's on a hit mic that Trump claimed to have forced himself on a woman. As for being racist, was my friend just buying into the propaganda. Just think about it Republicans are often branded as racsists, the last Republican President George W. Bush probably was branded a racist during his term of office. It's really nothing new, though Trump with his big mouth - and especially his unwillingness to condemn the craziness that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia - could do nothing more than stir up the allegations of alleged racism. Or even the rise of the "white nationalist" faction of this so-called "alt-right".

Either way now I wonder how many people held the view of a Sarandon? How many people in the Democrat's base thought Clinton was a dangerous prospect as President? How many of these individuals made a different choice in election day last year?

Finally I hate to take this on the end of this post, let's also consider she commented on the sexual harassment and assault that's taking down so many powerful Hollywood men. She's not jumping on the bandwagon, but sees a different view of this situation.

What say you?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Rev. Jackson and the future...

Last week Rev. Jesse Jackson a longtime and prominent leader in the civil rights movement announced that he is ill with Parkinson's. In a statement he especially noted that his father had the disease and it "bested him". While Rev. Jackson plans to make some lifestyle changes, his commitment to social and economic justice won't waver. He's even pledges to bring further attention to the disease.

This was something he talked about on Thanksgiving as he served food at his Rainbow Push Coalition HQ.
 

With this in mind, my thought immediately went towards who might be able to step into the shoes of Rev. Jackson now that his time in the limelight has certainly began to wind down. I've always said it has been past time for a new generation of Black leaders to make their moves and be the face of a new generation. The leadership who came out of the civil rights movement are slowly but surely leaving us thanks to the life cycle.

Another aspect of new leadership I want to see is perhaps they shouldn't be so monolithic. Rev. Jackson and perhaps the Congressional Black Caucus are certainly monolithic in the progressive/left sense. If everything they do is about advance Black people progressivism/leftism isn't the only answer.

I would dare say that in the new generation of Black leadership I want to see our version of Donald Trump. Such a person is individualistic & independent. Such a person made quite a splash at least in the business world and ideally is an entrepreneur. They have a serious interest in making Black communities better or providing Blacks with better opportunities.

Here in Chicago, Blacks do in general live in unsafe communities where gun crime is common - not all of course but it exists in some communities. What changes these unsafe communities is a focus on economic opportunities, especially jobs for the youth to get started in their lives. Perhaps a better education so that the youth are ready for employment opportunities.

Now I don't want to pretend that my quick answers are the easy answers, but a new leadership for the Black community must include business and entrepreneurship to advance the community. If the issue is capital to start business then lets help aspiring business owners get the necessary capital to start a business. We need some new solutions to the general problems of Black America and it's time to get started. Actually it's past time!

Friday, November 24, 2017

NY POST: Now LaVar Ball owes Donald Trump a $13 million ‘thank you’

You know the first time I ever heard of the Ball clan and this "Big Baller Brand" was on an edition of WWE Raw this past summer. Ball made an absolute spectacle of himself in from of the hometown crowd of Los Angeles, California as he introduced his son Lonzo who was recently drafted and signed by the Los Angeles Lakers. Ball made such a spectacle of himself that another wrestler - who has a similiar persona - had to come out and save that segement [one you can see here].

Then more recently Ball picked a fight with Trump - as we all know thanks to his twitter @realdonaldtrump he is very outspoken himself - who claimed that he helped to release three players from UCLA from custody in China for shoplifting. Those three players included LiAngelo Ball and in a press conference all three said thanks to the President. If they were convicted man China would throw those kids in jail and forgot all about them!

Anyway LaVar turns around and dismisses Trump's role in their release and with the President's Tweets & Ball's comments a war of words commences. I think of Ball as an idiot, but I'll give him some credit all this served to have done is give him and his company publicity.
It pays to pick a fight with President Trump.

That, at least, is the case for bloviating basketball dad LaVar Ball who has earned himself $13.2 million worth of free digital and TV ads since he started feuding with the president on Nov. 17. The number comes courtesy of Apex Marketing Group president Eric Smallwood and was first reported by ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell.

Smallwood and his company made their calculations based on how often Ball’s Big Baller Brand — a fledgling sneaker and apparel brand — has been mentioned in the media since Ball and Trump began feuding over the president’s role in getting Ball’s son LiAngelo released from Chinese custody after he was busted for shoplifting with two UCLA teammates.
Mark Dice even had to comment on this recent noting that father Ball trolled CNN's Chris Cuomo [VIDEO]
 
Of course to this publicity there is a downside, but then the big picture the Ball family and their business is getting some attention.
There is a downside to Ball’s attention grab.

 When the feud is mentioned, so is LiAngelo’s sticky-fingered trip to China. Thus, the crime and LiAngelo’s subsequent indefinite suspension from the UCLA basketball team hasn’t faded from view even though there have been plenty of natural endpoints to the controversy. LiAngelo and his teammates are trying to get back in coach Steve Alford’s good graces and onto the floor. This can’t be helping.

On top of that, Lavar’s self-promotion continues put an extra bright spotlight on his oldest son, Lonzo, who is struggling to live up to sky-high expectations as a rookie point guard for the Lakers. So far this season, Ball is averaging 9 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds per game but is shooting a stunningly bad 31 percent from the field.
Reality, I've learned that Ball has his supporters who view him as a strong Black father doing his own independent thing. He's doing the entrepreneurial thing and backing his sons two of whom are playing basketball (one in college at UCLA and the other in the NBA with the Lakers) I can definitely respect that even if I may have little respect for his persona.

Via Newsalert

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Saw #JusticeLeague this evening

[VIDEO] I'm going to let John Campea do more talking about this movie. If I had seen the above video before seeing the 6 PM show I'd know what he was mostly talking about.

Since the start of the DC extended universe in 2013 with Man of Steel it seems the new series of films had starts in fits and starts. Man of Steel was OK there were some parts of the movie that threw me and basically they killed off Zod from Kryton so early.

Now I liked Batman vs. Superman though the whole film wasn't that good. Batman to me stole the show though in reading other reviews many had a serious issue with Batman as a cold killer. The Dark Knight or Caped Crusader showed he was a bad man in facing down the hoodlums of Gotham and Superman. It was a bit goofy how using Martha - the name of both Clark's mother & Bruce Wayne's - stopped the epic fight between DC Comics two most iconic superheroes.

I also liked Suicide Squad also problem is they threw in the Joker. I recognize that they threw in the Joker because Harley Quinn was in it - because she's been introduced to the main DC universe and is no longer exclusive to the DC animated universe. The first part seemed to have been humming along, the second half well I didn't get it. And again we get a glimpse of Batman & The Flash with a special appearance by Bruce Wayne near the end seeking to provide Amanda Waller cover.

The next movie changed the direction of the DC extended universe, Wonder Woman. Using the Great War (The first World War) was a nice touch that worked and contrasted with the canonical second World War origins of the superheroine. She fought the German Empire as easily as she fought the Nazi's Third Reich. It was quite an introduction especially if her introduction into Batman v. Superman wasn't as satisfying.

Finally we have the long awaited Justice League. Ah the Easter eggs I want to talk about we seem some hints of other DC super heroes in this one though nothing from them yet - and yes there will be other movies about these other characters. It was great to see Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg interact with each other. At first there was some hostility, then eventually they came together to fight a common antagonist. We even see a certain superhero who died in Batman vs. Superman return to finish the fight.Yeah I know a bit of a spoiler but if you've been paying attention to the trailers you already know Superman is coming back.

Just like Wonder Woman, the audience applauded and I missed the scene after the credits. There was a mid-credits scene that I saw, however, since I was at the movies far later than usual it was time for me to go. I may go see this film one more time to see this final scene. Although they could've ended this with the mid-credits scene which was very satisfying...and the audience also applauded that!

BTW, DC extended universe films aren't known for these end credits scene are they stealing a trick out of the page of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? I could like without it though only provided if they advance the story of the DC universe.

Also, I've never caught a midnight show, however, I've noticed over the years that they have slowly fallen out of favor. Basically if a blockbuster is expected to come out on Friday - in general - you can be amongst the first to catch it starting at 6 PM on Thursday. Of course this depends upon the venue where you seek to watch the movie. All the same I enjoyed this experience although a long way from saying this is something to do again. Perhaps for the right movie - the right geeky movie!

Go see Justice League, it gets a thumbs up from me!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mark Dice: Anti-White Racism on the Rise in America

[VIDEO] I've been following Mark Dice, who just so happens to be an outspoken right-wing YouTuber for quite a while now. Today's video he takes on "anti-white racism" and it's certainly a subject worth discussing.

On ocassion as of late this issue has been explored here. What exactly is "white privilege"? The concept was somewhat explained in a video found from the BBC last year - posted at "The Moleskine". One aspect of this is that a Black man who doesn't speed, run red lights or anything like that is more likely to get stopped than a white man who does the same thing.

To be fair I have a concept of "white privilege" and the privilege could be inherent advantages based upon ethnicity or skin color. Perhaps a leg up on a job, an advantage as far as credit, or even an advantage as far as the justice system. At least that's my concept of white privilege.

Unfortunately what does Dice discuss in his latest video? Well to put my own spin on it, the idea of white privilege has caused some elements here in the nation to engage in some irrational acts. Noted in this video there had be an article from The Root where it is argued whites who are in interracial relationships and biracial children still aren't absolved of their racism. No matter what white people are going to be racist, and yes this does remind me of something - i.e. if you're a man you're always misogynist & racist sexist.

Anyway back to The Root:
We know that the number of black men who date white women far exceeds the number of black women who date white men. Nor are black women exalted by society the way white women are. In the few interracial relationships that I’ve seen with black women and white men, the black women are usually still remarkably black as fuck, and they still defend all black people (with a few exceptions).

And we can’t ignore the inherent sexual stereotypes that have marred black people for centuries. Black men and women have been seen as sexual beasts since we arrived in this country. Black men with their oversized penises, black women with their oversized breasts and asses, and both with their oversized sexual appetite became a sick fetish meant only for white pleasure.

When people say they can’t be racist because they have a black child, I laugh, as if the insertion of black penis into white vagina or white penis into black vagina is some magical act that wipes you clean of all your racism. As if there isn’t porn specifically dedicated to the subjugation of black women by white men. As if white demure housewives being beasted by a group of sex-crazed black men aren’t trending on YouPorn. As if slave owners and their sympathizers didn’t have children by black women while simultaneously writing laws that kept slavery legal and/or otherwise contributing to the subjugation of black people (Thomas Jefferson and Strom Thurmond, just to name a few).
Also we learned that at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado some racist graffitti was found in the dorms there. One problem after an investigation the racist grafitti was done by a Black student there. So in performing this hoax, this individual merely screws up an opportunity at a service academy - which essentially provides tuition-free college education with a commitment to serve in the Air Force. I didn't intend to excerpt this, but just have to now:
“The individual admitted responsibility and this was validated by the investigation,” academy spokesman Lt. Col. Allen Herritage said in a statement to the Associated Press, adding: “Racism has no place at the academy, in any shape or form.”

The cadet candidate accused of crafting the messages was not identified, but the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the individual is no longer enrolled at the school. Sources also told the Gazette the cadet candidate “committed the act in a bizarre bid to get out of trouble he faced at the school for other misconduct,” the newspaper reported.
What a shame! Manufactured controversy, just deflecting using some very incendiary accusations.

Also I shared the article Dice starts off with in this video also over at "The Moleskine". An op-ed asking whether or not Black children can be friends with white children. Life in 2017 and questions worth answering even in the era of President Donald Trump.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Saw "LBJ" & "Marshall" this week

Sort of ironic at roughly the same time two movies about these two pivotal historical figures of American history. Lyndon Baines Johnson was the 36th POTUS from the State of Texas and sadly elevated to the Presidency after the assassination of the 35th POTUS John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. As for Thurgood Marshall, after a long legal career especially as chief counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, President Johnson appointed Marshal to the US Supreme Court in 1967.

The events of both movies take place roughly 20 years apart. Marshall takes place in 1940 when he takes up the case of a Black man accused of raping a woman whose household employed him as a driver. As portrayed in the film he was going from town to town defending Blacks accused of crimes they didn't commit and doing whatever he could to insure they got fair trials.

In LBJ we see President Johnson campaigning behind the scenes for the Presidency. It seemed he was hesitant to really announce for the Democratic nomination in 1960 and expected to swoop in and steal it from the Kennedy. Well he had already been a powerful US Senator as Democratic Majority Leader. That unfortunately never carried him through and we see ultimately Kennedy - perhaps over the objection of his inner circle especially his brother Bobby - ask Johnson to run with him as Vice President.

While Marshall takes place during the course of 1940, LBJ basically takes place during the years 1959 to about 1963-64. And yes the assassination in Dallas was part of the story and then of course the aftermath of the assassination with Johnson taking over the Presidency in the wake of JFK's untimely death.

I want to share with you this column from a nephew of Sam Friedman - who was one of the main characters in Marshall. The columnist Roger Friedman takes time to reminds us that many of these movies that are based on real life events are fictionalized. The fiction of the stories told to us - especially since some of us weren't around to experience them first hand - are used to advance the plot.

Perhaps everything depicted in LBJ aside from what we know from history isn't entirely true. The same could be said for Marshall say for example neither Marshall nor Friedman got assaulted thanks to their involvement in this racially charged rap case. Also perhaps the future justice Marshall didn't actually tell his partner Friedman twice - "F*ck you". Those who do screenplays for historical movies or period pieces have to make them interesting to us the audience.

In my opinion both films had and they both relate to a certain period of American history. I could say Marshall the events took place before the Civil Rights movement heated up by the 1950s - 60s. Thurgood Marshall was already fighting the good fight long before Martin Luther King Jr arrived on the scene.

Conversely the end of the movie LBJ concerned President Lyndon Johnson's drive to pass his predecessor's - John F. Kennedy - civil rights legislation. The movie portrays Johnson as being able to relate to his fellow Southern Democrats to get them on board - though he likely didn't get them all on board. If it wasn't for his conduct of the Vietnam War, Johnson would've been one of our greatest Presidents.

Unfortunately I didn't see either film when they first came out. I can only wonder how received they were at the time of release. I could easily see Marshall as a Black movie, but it had a far more diverse crowd which isn't a bad thing. It's great to know a film like Marshall could potentially have broad appeal even if it's possible the intended audience had no interest. Especially at a time where there is further concern over the American justice system and their treatment of minorities.

Here are the trailers for both films.

Marshall [VIDEO]
LBJ [VIDEO]